The year 2021 has been full of twists and turns, making us all the more ready to say goodbye to him. But Beijing wasn’t too bad a place to spend the year, so in 2021 Year in Review we take a look back at the best and worst times in the capital from that year.
After 2020 resulted in forced closings and stay-at-home orders, the relative stability of 2021 has been a boon for Beijing’s restaurant scene, and many new restaurants have made good starts after opening their doors for the first time. In fact, there were so many new openings that we had a hard time keeping up with them all, especially when it comes to some great new Chinese food, but these were just a few that caught our eye. .
The French catering group Flo continued its march through the city with the launch of a new brand: the Parisian steakhouse L’Ox. Located on the first floor on the west side of the Grand Millenium hotel, L’Ox is inspired by the great Parisian cafes of the 1920s and 1930s, with a delightfully Art Deco space complete with a stage for evening jazz concerts. As the name of the restaurant suggests, beef is the star of the menu, with a number of different cuts and qualities to choose from.
Larry the bird
Fancy a good roast chicken? Your prayers have been answered this year in Sanlitun’s new roast, Larry the Bird. With a menu created by Chef Jarrod Verbiak, formerly of Bistrot B at Rosewood Beijing, we had high expectations from the start and the tender but crispy roast chickens certainly didn’t disappoint. Don’t miss their monthly specials, which recently included dishes like a chicken and parmesan sandwich.
Another French venue, Panorama, arrived to fill the gap crepeshaped hole in our hearts left by the closure of Crepanini de Nali Patio in 2018. Crepanini founder Jean-Baptiste is back in full force with a neighborhood bistro-style place that doesn’t just serve crepes but also other French favorites like fried mussels next to a wine list at a good price.
Located east of The Place, La Platea brings together the best of the Mediterranean, created by a French chef, a Spanish designer and an Italian manager. We love the relaxed space with its long deli counter, inspired by the many large halls and markets in Europe. Much like the restaurant team, the food fuses dishes and influences from France, Spain, Italy and beyond – definitely try the trapizzino pizza pockets.
The new Commune Reserve gastro pub became an instant hit when it opened near Xi Dawang Lu, with frequent lineups on weekend nights. The huge space not only serves an upscale gourmet menu (we love fancy wagyu beef burgers), it also has both craft beer on tap and a huge selection of bottled beers in its refrigerators.
Beijing chains continue to expand
Our local restaurant brands in Beijing had another great year in 2021, with several well-known names opening new locations across the city. Q Mex has opened a new branch in Solana, its fifth in Beijing and the largest to date, with two floors, outdoor seating and stunning murals by Miguel Angel Emérico. Susu has opened a new laid-back Vietnamese bistro, Xiao Susu, in Phoenixtown Instreet in Sanyuanqiao, their fourth new location since the start of the pandemic. Pizza throwers Gung Ho! also brought their healthier-than-average pies to the Grand Summit in Liangmaqiao, which will also soon be home to a new branch of Pak Pak.
However, maybe no one worked harder than the team at Jing-A, which opened a total of four new branches this year: in Phoenixtown InStreet, Wangjing, Tongzhou and 798.
READ: Year in review 2021: places we said goodbye to, part 1
Images: courtesy of the venue